Insomnia can lead to deadly prostate tumors

Men, if you're suffering from a sleep disorder link  insomnia, that last thing you need is more missed sleep -- so try not to let this keep you up at night: Poor sleep can double your risk of prostate cancer, according to new research out of Iceland.

The more trouble you have sleeping, the higher your risk, according to the study of 2,102 men. And while that's already bad news, this one gets even worse -- because men who have a sleep disorders don't just have a higher risk of prostate cancer.

They have a higher risk of advanced prostate cancer, according to the study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

As you may know, many cases of prostate cancer are treatable without drugs or surgery, and often with no treatment at all beyond "watchful waiting."

But the advanced prostate cancers uncovered in the new study are the ones that can hurt you or worse. They're the cancers that kill more than 28,000 men per year in the United States alone.

The study itself doesn't show why having a sleep disorder insomnia can increase the risk of prostate cancer, only that there's a link. But we know that poor sleep can disrupt the body's production of melatonin, the "sleep hormone" that can fight aging, boost the immune system, and keep disease at bay.

More specifically, melatonin is also known to protect against cancer -- including prostate cancer in men, breast cancer in women, and other cancers in men and women alike.

Insomnia is one way to fall short -- but it's not the only way. Other poor sleep habits can also disrupt melatonin production, and that includes shift work, which forces you to reverse the body's circadian rhythm and sleep during the day instead of the night.

And once again, there's a link to cancer -- one so consistent that shift work is actually listed as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization.

(To find out more about how shift work can raise your cancer risk click here.)

Melatonin supplements can often help ease a sleep disorder, especially over the short term. However, it is not necessarily a cure so much as a fix (and it won't do much for shift work -- that would require a new job, or at least new hours).

There's no single answer for sleep problems because there's no single cause -- but a holistic doctor can help find the cause and correct it naturally, without resorting to dangerous sleep medications.

I'm not done with sleep problems just yet. For more on a major sleep issue affecting millions of Americans every night, keep reading.